This chapter focuses on the topic of information and consumer behavior. It best illustrates this recurrent theme in this book: Multilevel and interdisciplinary analyses as a basis for using effective information variables. Because the topic of information and consumer behavior is very broad, it is necessary to focus this chapter around several issues and perspectives:

1. The position is taken that the power ')f unorganized, individual consumers to influence market forces and corporate practices is miniscule in comparison to the power of large corporations to influence market forces and consumer behavior (Galbraith, 1973, 1983). The free-market balance between the power of the

seller and the countervailing power of the consumer is mostly seen as an illusion or convenient myth. This is because large corporations (in contrast to smaller companies and businesses that do actively compete with one another in a free market) can effectively control and limit competition, while at the same time they can control and stimulate (to an imperfect degree) consumer demand through massive, multimedia advertising that they alone can afford. Because of this "asymmetry," it is "government's responsibility to redress this imbalance between producers and consumers" (Pertschuk, 1982,p. 149). However, the myth is not extended so that information is seen as the sole or best remedy to limited consumer power. Informational approaches are only one of several potential interventions that may be enacted in concert with other approaches (e.g. , regulations on use of particular terms and standards for foods plus.effective information campaigns).